|Dec. 20th, 2007 09:31 pm If Thou Must Love Me by Elizabeth Barrett Browning|
This is a poet recommended by my mummy. This poem goes nicely with the previous poem. It, too is about love. If you read it by the sentence instead of by the line on your first read through, it will help with the understanding. Read it now!
The first two lines (the first sentence) are a passionate plea to the listener. The poet says that any love she has coming to her should be for love's sake alone. In the second through sixth lines, one long sentence points out several reasons that one should NOT love her. For her smile, or how she looks, or that her thinking matches his on some points which makes life pleasurable for a while--all of these are not reasons to love her.
Lines 7-9 tell her reasons for not wanting to be loved for those things. She says that those things are all things that are subject to change. If someone loves her for those things and then they change, then it seems that the love they feel would change also. These things are so tenuous that basing love on them seems risky to the poet.
The rest of line 9 through line 12 are my favorites. She says that she doesn't want to be loved out of pity. All too often, people mistake pity and wanting to make someone feel better for tender feeling or love. She says that that's the riskiest reason of all, since the love given to the poor, pitiful person would make them feel better and stop being so pitiful. Then, the pity would dry up and so, too, would the love.
The last two lines state the whole purpose of the sonnet. She says that the only good reason to love her is for love's sake only. I enjoy the whole poem much more than the previous poem, since I don't agree with Shakespeare's intimation that love is a steadfast, unchanging thing. This poem is more realistic, I think and admits that love will change as the people feeling it change. I really, really wish that I could understand the whole for love's sake thing. It's the only part of the poem that doesn't speak to me. I've heard the old saying that "someone isn't in love, he's in love with being in love," and that's what she seems to be saying. Love me because you love being in love. That seems precarious to me. If someone is loving just for the sake of loving, it seems that anyone could satisfy their need for an object. I would love to hear your opinions of those last two lines.
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